Willy in Calgary…Bennett Interview…Babych in BCHHF

willy

Mike Williamson was officially named as the new Head Coach of the Calgary Hitmen, replacing Dave Lowry who moved up to the Calgary Flames as an Assistant Coach.

It is hard to imagine Willy wearing a logo other than the Hawks, but it is great to see him back in the WHL and behind the bench of one of the premier franchises in the league.

He is inheriting a team that won 59 games last season and should be a favorite in the Central Division once again.

One interesting note (to me, anyways) is that Williamson is a huge Edmonton Oilers fan…and the Hitmen are owned by the Oilers main rival, the Calgary Flames…I wonder if they made Willy turn in his Oilers cap at the door when he arrived at the Saddledome???

One of my favorite Willy stories happened during my first year as the color guy for the Hawks and I went on the Central swing with the team.  It was an off day for the Hawks in Medicine Hat and Willy, Scooter and I decided to walk from the hotel in the Hat across the street to Montana’s Steakhouse for a late dinner.

As we were finshing the meal, I announced that I was paying for the meal as Willy wouldn’t let me pay for anything on the trip.   As I expected, Willy immediately said “no, you’re not” and we had a bit of an argument over who would pay for dinner.  After a few minutes, Willy won and he paid for the meal.

As we were walking back to the hotel, I noticed that I was missing something…my wallet.   I realized then that I had left it on the nightstand in the hotel.  I started to chuckle and told Willy and Scooter about it and needless to say I was given a ration of crap about offering to pay for dinner with no money.  I’m glad that I didn’t win the argument at the restaurant…

And lastly, the other prominent memory of that trip happened, oddly enough, in the Saddledome…the Hawks had just finished the trip with a 4-2 loss to Calgary, a trip where they went 0-6.  The bus was getting ready to head back to Portland and Willy (as well as Assistant Brian Pellerin) loaded the vast majority of the bus so the players could spend a last few minutes with families and friends in the lower recesses of the ‘dome.  A great gesture that was typical of Willy…I wish him the best of luck in Calgary and I look forward to seeing him when the ‘Hawks invade the Saddledome sometime in the upcoming season…

The Calgary Flames are holding their prospect camp this week in Calgary and Flames TV had an interview with Spencer Bennett, who will be joining the Hawks for the 2009-10 season…

You can view the interview here

babych2713541381_ae9eb58a7bCongratulations are also in order for former Winterhawk d-man David Babych, as he will be inducted into the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame tonight in Penticton, BC.

Babych just may be the most complete defenseman to ever don a Hawks sweater, playing in 123 games in Portland, scoring 43-122-165 with 138 PIM’s.  He was a big, physical player who could skate and had a great slapshot.

One of the great stories about Babych is that he only got into one fight in his WHL career (in an era when fighting was more prominent), with Torrie Robertson of the Victoria Cougars.  Babych laid such a beating on Robertson that the word got around the league and no one would fight him.  Babych was known for laying out tremendous hip-checks while a Hawk and he was the #2 overall selection of the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL in 1980.

Babych never played in the minors in the pros, playing 1195 games in the NHL, second most of any Winterhawk graduate (behind Glen Wesley).  He accumulated 142-581-723 with 970 PIM’s in the NHL.  The 581 assists and 723 points are the most of any Winterhawk graduate in the NHL.

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5 Comments

  1. Good story Kemper……….. Good picture above Willy tearing in to a official…..

  2. Congratulations to Mike (Michelle and the kids) on their move North. Please take pity on us when the Hitmen vs the Hawks, Mike.

  3. Andy – I am guessing that you could win a “bar bet” or two with the fact that David Babych was the Hawks all time leading point producer in the NHL – although something tells me that Mr. Hossa will assume that honor eventually

  4. Nice to see Willy back behind the bench in the WHL … I hope he relizes he has tons of pressure to WIN , and to WIN this year! If not, we might be out of that job by this time next year. I know no coach thinks thats why, when taking a job, but the Bar is High in Calgary. Win the Cup this season!

  5. SO very happy for Willy … what a wonderful guy … yet completely depressed — never thought in a million years that I would “have” to cheer on anything in Calgary! But, he’s still my favourite all-time Winterhawk player.


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